Group Project Business Plan Guidelines & Template

Group Project Business Plan Guidelines & Template

Your goal is to create a very detailed business plan for your organization, but without financial statements or marketing research.  What is a business plan?  Business plans are documents that managers and owners of companies use to explain how the business works as well as provide direction for future activities.  In the business world, there is no one standard template for what should be included or how it should be written – it depends on what the purpose of the document is.  Often, business plans are used to obtain financing for a company (and so they are shown to banks, investors, etc).  They can also be used for planning purposes exclusively within the firm.  A business plan is especially useful for creating a new company; it is a way to document on paper all the ideas you have for how the company will work.  Just like an architect creates blueprints of buildings, entrepreneurs create business plans of future businesses.  While creating the business plan, you can more easily see strengths and weaknesses of the proposed company, as well as more accurately understand operational, staffing, and financing needs.
Since this is a course on organizational behavior, the business plan you create shall focus primarily on how the company functions internally.  Some of the elements of your plan will have much more detail on the company’s internal systems than a typical business plan created by entrepreneurs – that is because your goal is to comprehensively apply our course concepts.  At the same time, your plan will only provide brief mention of marketing strategy and competitive strategy – areas which are clearly important to a real live business plan, but are less important to our course.  You will not include any financial statements or estimates.  (While planning your company, you can assume that the financial resources that you need will be available.)
Here is an outline/template for your business plan.  Note that in your Work you are to divide up the sections of your business plan, indicating which group member will be responsible for which section(s).  [Sections can be subdivided as needed to try to achieve an even workload across group members.] The business plan sections will be graded by the amount of relevant course content used and how well that content is applied – your grade will be based only on your component of the business plan (individual grade rather than group grade).
It is very important to note that although you are dividing up sections of the business plan to write separately, you must work together as a group to decide many of the details in each section.  This is because the sections are all inter-related.  For instance, the structure and operations of the organization have to be compatible with the culture of the organization.  The culture of the organization has to be compatible with the compensation and reward systems.  The compensation and reward systems have to be compatible with the hiring, promotion, and retention strategy…  And so on.  As a result, you should discuss all the sections of the business plan as a group, even though the responsibility for writing up each section falls to specific individuals.  If you do not coordinate the details of the business plan as a group, then your Organizational Analysis will be more lengthy and harder to write.

Business Plan Sections/Components
A.    Executive Summary:  A one-page summary of the business plan.  Think of this as your “elevator pitch” for the company; this is your chance to describe the company briefly (while touching on all the major topics) and get the reader excited about how great the company will be.
B.    Introduction
a.    What kind of company is this?  For profit, not-for-profit?
b.    What industry?  Who are competitors?
c.    What product/service offering?
d.    What are the organization’s short-term and long-term goals?
C.    Competitive & Marketing Strategy
a.    What is the overall competitive strategy of the company?  The marketing strategy?
b.    Note that this section should be very brief (no more than a page); we include it here because in order for the company to be successful, its internal factors have to be matched to its external strategy.  You do not need to do any research to complete this section – only describe this at a level that a reader would need to know whether the strategy is appropriate given the company’s internal factors, and vice versa.
D.    Organizational Structure & Operations
a.    Include a full organization chart.  Every person who will be hired should be noted on the chart (if multiple people are to be hired for a particular job, indicate how many).
b.    In addition to the chart, describe in text the roles of the different departments (or areas or divisions) and how they are important in the organization.  What structural form does this organization have, and why?
c.    How does the organization work?  Assume that the reader has no idea how a business of your kind operates.  For example, if a restaurant, describe all the roles that are needed (and how they interact) in order for you to transform inputs (food and labor) into outputs (a meal produced and served).  While describing how the organization works, discuss the differentiation and integration that is required, and the linking mechanisms that you will need.
d.    If you will have multiple buildings/plants/sites/offices, be sure to describe how these are related.
e.    Note that this section should be extensive.  Remember:  You are providing a blueprint for the organization.  Can a person read this section on organizational structure and operations and have a good idea of how to create your company after reading it?  You may want to do some research on organizations that are similar, to know if you have covered all the needed departments/areas/divisions.  [Tip:  if you are making a product, don’t forget to describe the manufacturing plant(s); and if you are providing a service, don’t forget to describe the internal structure required for acquiring clients (who does sales pitches? call center needed?  etc).]
E.    Hiring, Promotion, and Retention Strategy
a.    What selection/hiring procedures?  What kinds of employees do you want to attract?  Will you select for certain personalities or skills?  (Does this vary by job or position in the company?)
b.    Promotion procedures/philosophy?
c.    How will you retain employees?  What psychological contract do you hope employees will have, and what will you do to ensure their psychological contracts are not breached?
F.    Compensation & Rewards Systems
a.    What compensation and rewards systems?  (What is the logic for choosing that system and not others?)
b.    Remember that “rewards” can be non-monetary as well as monetary
G.    Motivation & Job Design
a.    How will employees be motivated?
b.    Do you have an overall philosophy about how jobs should be designed in your organization?
c.    Pick 3 key roles in the organization, making sure that a) at least one of these roles is an entry-level position and at least one of the roles is a mid-level position, and b) none of the roles will be filled by your group members.  [In other words, choose three roles that will be filled by hired employees at various levels of the organization.]  Apply the job characteristics model and other forms of job design to those positions, and discuss the motivating potential of those jobs.  Are there any tradeoffs in increasing the motivating potential of the jobs?
H.    Organizational Culture
a.    What kind of culture will you create?  Be sure to discuss all three levels of culture.
b.    HOW will you create that culture?  Be realistic here – what will it take to create the culture you intend?
c.    Note that although your group wrote about culture in the Initial Plan, you will describe the culture more fully here, using course concepts related to organizational culture
I.    Leadership Philosophy
a.    Who in the organization will have leadership roles, and how will that leadership be exercised?  What kind of leadership?
b.    How will you ensure ethical leadership?
J.    Management & Staff
a.    Describe what job each group member would take in the organization
There are 6 members in the group:
Female A: shy, Asian, english as second language, discrete and responsible
Female B: Black, hardworking, humble and independent
Female C: Hispanic, affable, observant and intelligent
Male A: Asian, outgoing, confident and imaginative
Male B: White, confident, valiant, dependable and optimistic
Male C: Asian, precise, exuberant, suave
(e.g. president, engineer, vice-president of marketing, sales person, director of operations, etc) and a brief justification.  Does the job fit with the person’s skills and personality?  Does the job provide opportunity for the person to grow/develop?

There are no minimum or maximum page requirements, except as noted for specific sections above; instead, what is essential is for you to write in a way that amply describes the details of your organization while applying course concepts.  In other words, write as if your audience is a college-educated colleague who has not had the benefit of taking this course.  When you use a course concept, you must define it.  However, you should be sure not to plagiarize the textbook or other source.  If you wish to quote the textbook or other source while defining concepts, that is fine; but you should not copy text from a source without quotation and citation.  In the interests of readability (and to show that you really know the concepts well), you may want to define course concepts in your own words, rather than quoting the textbook/readings.
Textbook:  ORGB3, Student Edition, By:  Nelson/Quick, ISBN-13:  9781133191193

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